TSA''s New Admiral

TSA''s New Admiral

Copyright 2003, Traffic World, Inc.

The new head of the nation''s top transportation security agency is an unknown quantity in freight transportation circles.

David M. Stone, a retired Navy rear admiral, took over on Dec. 8 as the acting administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. He replaces James Loy, who led the TSA for eight months and was promoted to deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Stone is one of several people being considered by the White House for the permanent position, TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser said.

After retiring from the Navy, Stone joined the TSA in the spring of 2002 as the federal security director for Los Angeles International Airport. In August, he moved to TSA headquarters where he became the deputy chief of staff.

Transportation industry officials said they are hopeful Stone will do a good job in the position, given his experience with the agency. Many transportation industry insiders and Congress members disliked the job done by the first TSA head, John Magaw, whose background was in law enforcement rather than transportation. Magaw previously headed the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Transportation industry observers agreed they are pleased that Stone''s background is different.

"If he understands the industry in both its domestic and international aspects, then he may be an excellent choice," Baker & Hostetler LLP transportation attorney Joanne Young said. "Additionally, if he has strong leadership ability and is able to organize and administrate the TSA so it can address its mission as effectively and efficiently as possible, then I think he could be a very good choice."

Stone had a distinguished Navy career, during which he commanded the Nimitz Battlegroup and NATO''s Naval Force Mediterranean. He gained publicity as one of three officers on a panel that heard the case of Cmdr. Scott Waddle, the submarine commander whose vessel surfaced and sunk a Japanese educational fishing vessel off the coast of Hawaii in 2001.

"I think he can be a good leader despite not having a specific issue area," UPS spokesman David Bolger said. "This is a position where he needs to make assessments and judgments and analyses while having an overall understanding of the environment in which we operate."

National Industrial Transportation League Executive Vice President Peter Gatti said he hopes Stone understands the needs of the freight transportation industry.

"We think it''s important that people have an understanding of the need to have a system that is as safe and secure as possible but balanced with the needs of commerce," Gatti said. "I think that the commercial interests out there are going to be looking for leadership that creates a balance between keeping freight as safe as possible along with the need to move freight as efficiently as possible."

A 1974 graduate of the Naval Academy, Stone is a native of Algonquin, Ill. He is married to Cynthia Faith Voth, and the couple lives in Clarendon, Va.